One of England's favourite nursery rhyme characters is inextricably linked to the historic village of Cawood.

Cardinal Thomas Wolsey lived at Cawood Castle for nine months in 1530, and is widely believed to be the inspiration behind Humpty Dumpty, that hapless, egg-shaped fellow so well loved by generations of children.

And to celebrate the historic connection, villagers are planning a Humpty Dumpty model competition as part of their annual arts and crafts festival later this month.

Organising committee member, Jacqueline Gill, has been researching Cawood's links with the popular, age-old nursery rhyme.

In 1514, after consulting with King Henry VIII, Pope Leo X conferred upon Thomas Wolsey the Archbishopric of York. A year later, Wolsey became a cardinal, and owing to pressing duties elsewhere, it was not until early in 1530 that he travelled north to Cawood to prepare for his enthronement.

Says Mrs Gill: "It appears he was in the habit of walking the walls of Cawood Castle, his greatest joy being to sit on the high tower wall, from where he would view the cathedral in York, looking forward to the day of his glorification."

Alas, it was never to be. He fell quickly out of favour with the King after he was unable to get permission from the Pope for Henry VIII to divorce Catherine of Aragon so he could marry Anne Boleyn. He was arrested by the Earl of Northumberland only three days before his enthronement, and charged with high treason. Already unwell, Wolsey died three weeks later on November 29, 1530, in Leicester Abbey, on his way to face trial in London. Things had gone not so much egg-shaped as pear-shaped for poor old Thomas. Mrs Gill says the links are obvious: Humpty Dumpty - meaning short and dumpy as Wolsey was

Sat on a wall - doubtless the walls of Cawood Castle's high tower

Had a great fall - his final fall from the King's grace

All the King's horses and all the King's men - sent to arrest him

Could not put Humpty together again - because sadly he died Mrs Gill is now inviting villagers and visitors to the August Bank Holiday craft festival to make their own model of Humpty Dumpty for cash prizes totalling £125. There will be three classes - juniors, adults and any age group - and one resident will be dressed up as Humpty distributing balloons to children.

The three-day festival will also include displays of vintage cars and tractors, line dancers, a musical ensemble, and demonstrations of pottery, woodturning, and corn dolly and lace-making.

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